Skift Take

Who needs telephones in hotel guest rooms? Hotels can instead have guests make and receive calls via their mobile apps. That's one of the outcomes made possible by this acquisition of the vendor Criton by Nonius.

Nonius, a vendor of digital tools for hospitality companies, said on Wednesday that it has acquired Criton, a builder of mobile apps for hotels and serviced apartment operators.

The companies didn’t disclose the deal terms. The deal is completed and has passed regulatory hurdles.

Criton, based in Edinburgh and with 300 clients, had raised approximately $6.5 million (£5 million) since its founding in 2015. It was one of Skift’s Top Travel Startups to Watch 2019.

Nonius, based in Portugal and with about 150 employees, serves more than 3,950 hotels with internet access, network management, interactive TV, digital signage, and other guest-facing tech.

“We’re well-financed and cash-flow positive, and we’ve been funding nearly one acquisition a year since about 2012,” said Leonel Domingues, co-founder and chief technology officer at Nonius. “Our compound average growth rate is about 20 percent, through a mix of organic and acquisitions.”

The company recently acquired the mobile app vendor Guestu and will blend the product with Criton’s and its own.

Replacing Phone Handsets

Criton saw the pandemic drive growth for its products, as hotels sought contactless check-in, a mobile key for guest rooms, and mobile ordering of property services, said founder and CEO Julie Grieve.

Nonius will enable hotels to replace phone handsets in rooms by letting guests receive and make calls via the white-labeled mobile app.

It sees a broader opportunity in helping hotels digitize their guest information collected across their property through a mix of touchpoints.

In 2020, Nonius released an “integration hub” to let hoteliers connect guest-facing systems from different vendors and make the best use of data.

Hoteliers can use the hub to connect, say, their mobile app with their customer relationship management software and their payment providers. Nonius offers the cloud-based service that powers an application programming interface, or API, for an initial fee and then a monthly payment of per room per night.

Looking ahead, Nonius expects to make additional acquisitions. It’s particularly looking for vendors that excel in providing guest Wi-Fi and helping hotels manage their marketing campaigns. It’s also looking at vendors with regional concentrations in markets it hopes to expand in.

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Tags: future of lodging, hotel technology, mergers and acquisitions, mobile apps

Photo credit: An example of Nonius technlogy in the smart TV in a guest room at the Intercontinental Barcelona Hotel. Source: IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group).